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Where Can We Find Wisdom?

Where in the brain is what we call wisdom located? Neurobiologists think they have the answer to this question, which was once only addressed by religion and philosophy.

Psychiatrist Dilip V. Jeste says, "Defining wisdom is rather subjective, though there are many similarities in definition across time and cultures. However, our research suggests that there may be a basis in neurobiology for wisdom's most universal traits."

Wisdom has been defined over centuries and civilizations to encompass numerous psychological traits. Components of wisdom are commonly agreed to include such attributes as empathy, compassion or altruism, emotional stability, self-understanding, and pro-social attitudes, including a tolerance for others' values.

"But questions remain: is wisdom universal, or culturally based?" asks Jeste. "Is it uniquely human, related to age? Is it dependent on experience or can wisdom be taught?"

In order to determine if specific brain circuits and pathways might be responsible for wisdom, the researchers examined existing articles, publications and other documents for six attributes most commonly included in the definition of wisdom, and for the brain circuitry associated with those attributes.

They found that pondering a situation calling for altruism activates the medial pre-frontal cortex, while moral decision-making is a combination of rational (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in sustaining attention and working memory), emotional/social (medial pre-frontal cortex), and conflict detection (the anterior cingulate cortex, sometimes also associated with a so-called "sixth sense") functions.

Interestingly, several common brain regions appear to be involved in different components of wisdom. This research suggests that the neurobiology of wisdom may involve an perfect balance between more primitive brain regions and the newest ones.

Now that we know where in the brain wisdom resides, will we learn how to get it?in time to save our planet?

Wisdom is something we now need more than ever! One path to wisdom that people may not suspect is meditation. Not everyone realizes that Whitley Strieber wrote the perfect how-to-meditate guide, based on the teachings he learned?both through the Gurdjieff work AND from the Visitors!

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